Med Leg J. ;35(2) Origins of legal medicine. Roman law: lex duodecim tabularum. Brittain RP. PMID: ; [Indexed for MEDLINE]. Publication. Origins of Legal Medicine Roman Law: Lex Duodecim Tabularum. Show all authors. Robert P. Brittain · Robert P. Brittain. Physician Superintendent, State. Buy Lex duodecim tabularum by Romano Paolo (ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders.

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The importance of this code of primitive laws, whether for the Romans or for us, cannot be overestimated. For the Romans the publication of these laws signalized a stage in the class conflict between the patricians and the plebeians, for the latter compelled the codification and the promulgation of what had been largely customary law interpreted and administered by the former primarily in their own interests. As a result of this political victory every Roman of either high or low rank could know at last what were both his legal rights and his legal duties as well as not dudecim little about the procedure to be pursued in asserting these rights and in performing these duties, especially in civil cases.

For us the code is valuable for the philological information that it presents about archaic Latin, for the antiquarian interest that it affords to jurists, to historians, to sociologists about early Roman society and institutions, and for the fact that this great charter is the substructure of what Roman law is still regnant in almost half of the civilized world.

The code contains principally private law, but it also shows some sacred law as well as public and criminal statutes. The code is concerned with subjects peculiarly suited to an agricultural and pastoral community, which had hardly any industrial interests or commercial activities or cultural avocations.

The style of the statutes is characterized by such simplicity and by such brevity in its clothing of commands and of prohibitions that the meaning in some instances borders upon obscurity—at least so far tabularu modern interpretation is concerned. In those cases where the exact words of a law are preserved the Latin is extremely brief, even to the point of obscurity. To make these laws more readily intelligible to the modern reader, tabklarum regularly supply words that are implied.

Thus, in the first three laws of the Tables the literal translation would read: If one goes not, one shall call a witness. Then one shall seize him. If one does not wish one shall not spread a carriage with cushions. Such extreme brevity and the consequent obscurity in the law encouraged the early rise of jurists known as jurisconsults to interpret the law for the people. They gave free advice to all who consulted them.


Proceedings Preliminary to Trial. If the defendant does not go the plaintiff shall call a witness thereto.

Only then the plaintiff shall seize the defendant. If he does not wish he shall not spread a carriage with cushions. Both parties being present shall plead the case throughout together. It shall be argued by solemn deposit with asses, when the property is valued at 1, asses or more, but with 50 asses, when the property is valued at less than 1, asses.

But if the controversy is about the freedom of a person, although the person may be very valuable, yet the case shall be argued by a solemn deposit of 50 asses. If any of these circumstances is an impediment for the judex or for the arbiter or for either litigant, on that account the day of trial shall be postponed. The creditor shall hale the debtor into court.

Lex duodecim tabularum

He shall bind him either with a thong or with fetters of not less than fifteen pounds in weight, or if he wishes he shall bind him with fetters of more than this weight. If he does not live on his own means the creditor who holds him in bonds shall give him a pound of grits daily. If he wishes he shall give him more. Meanwhile they shall have the right to compromise, and unless they make a compromise the debtors shall be held in bonds for tsbularum days.


During these days they shall be brought to the praetor into the meeting place on three tabluarum market days, and the amount for which they have been judged liable shall be declared publicly. Moreover, on the third market day they shall suffer capital punishment or shall be delivered for sale abroad euodecim the Tiber River.

If they have cut more or less than their shares it shall be without prejudice. Women, even though they are of full age, because of tahularum levity of mind shall be under guardianship. Administration of his own goods shall be forbidden to a spendthrift.

A spendthrift, who is forbidden from administering his own goods, shall be. Debts of the estate of a deceased shall be divided, according to law, among the heirs, proportionally to tabulaarum share of the inheritance that each acquires. Action for division of an estate shall be available for joint heirs wishing to withdraw from common and equal participation.

It shall be sufficient to make good those faults that have been named by his tongue, while for those flaws that he has denied expressly, when questioned about them, the vendor shall undergo a penalty of double damages. Of all other things. If any woman is unwilling to be subjected in this manner to her husband’s marital control she shall absent herself for three successive nights in every year and by this means shall interrupt his prescriptive right of each year.


Interim possession shall be granted in favor of liberty. One shall be permitted tabularu, to remove nor duodevim claim stolen timber fixed in buildings or in vineyards.

Whenever the vines are pruned, until the timbers are removed. Clearance shall be two and one-half feet. Three arbiters shall regulate boundaries.

Origins of legal medicine. Roman law: lex duodecim tabularum.

Branches of a tree shall be pruned all around to a height of fifteen feet. It shall be lawful to gather fruit falling upon another’s farm. If anyone sings or composes an incantation that can cause dishonor or disgrace to another. One shall make amends.

Nor shall one lure away another’s grain. A person below the age of puberty at the praetor’s decision shall be scourged and shall be judged as a person either to be surrendered to the plaintiff for damage done or to pay double damages. No person shall practice usury at a rate of more than one twelfth. A thief shall be condemned for double damages and a usurer for quadruple damages. Whoever is convicted of speaking false witness shall be flung from the Tarpeian Rock.

No person duodscim hold nocturnal meetings in the City. Laws concerning capital punishment of a citizen shall not fuodecim passed.

Lex duodecim tabularum | Open Library

Whoever incites a public enemy or whoever betrays a citizen to a public enemy shall be punished capitally. More than this one shall not do: Expenses of a funeral shall be limited to three mourners wearing veils and one mourner wearing an inexpensive purple tunic and ten flutists.

Anointing by slaves is abolished and every kind of drinking bout. Nor gold shall be added to a corpse.

But if anyone buries or burns a corpse that has gold dental work it shall be without prejudice. There shall not be intermarriage between plebeians and patricians. Whatever the people ordain last shall be legally valid. This the laws in the Twelve Tables indicate.